Mar 27, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
Apparently it's because Russians are more honest in their facial expressions - more in the link.
The social role of politeness in Russia is extremely low. Unwelcoming service has become one of the manifestations of this public flaw in the country. Muscovites are considered those who smile least among the residents of other Russian cities. A poll conducted by ROMIR Monitoring showed that 88 percent of Russians slam Muscovites for their rudeness. Rudeness and indifference of personnel hurts consumers morally and causes financial damage to companies.
There is a unique proverb in the Russian language, which probably does not exist in other languages. "Laughing for no reason makes you a fool." This is what many Russian people say and they really mean it when they say so. Foreigners seem to be unable to understand the logic of this saying. A German teacher was told that if a person laughs for no reason then it means that he or she has mental issues. The teacher could not get the point and would only ask why in return.
A sales woman from Voronezh was hospitalized to a mental institution because the store director would always smile at her. The woman thought that her financial accounts could probably be messy - this is the explanation that the woman found to her boss's smiles. The woman could not work under such conditions and broke down. This case is described in the research titled "The smile in the Russian communicative behavior." The research was made by Joseph Sternin, a professor of the Voronezh State Technical University.